Monday, February 27, 2012

Basil and Rosemary

Some people baby talk their puppies and kittens, I prefer to baby talk my plants. They are so gorgeous and are growing so well, how could I resist telling them???

Spring is just around the corner and I couldn't help myself when I saw fresh herbs at the grocery store last weekend. I grabbed some rosemary and basil but once it warms up a little I'll add more to my balcony garden.

Come on Spring, hurry up and get here already!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh Martha, you've done it again.

"At the cocktail hour, serve crunchy vegetables complete with their own dip: buttermilk-peppercorn, roasted pepper and eggplant, or toasted curry. Their bowls -- hollowed-out slices of baguettes in pumpernickel, plain, or everything -- are meant to be eaten, too."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eat like an Egyptian

I'm now a proud Book Club member. Funny thing about that since I'm not a big reader. I'm really good at reading 75% of a book and then losing interest, or more often than not, losing the actual book. Some people can't put a book down because they need to know how it ends.  Not me. I'm quite content not knowing how the story ends. Weird, hey?

When a bunch of my girlfriends decided to start a book club I excitedly jumped on the train. For a few reasons:
#1. Getting together with friends is always fun. I couldn't possibly miss out on that.
#2. A book club is really good motivation to actually finish a book. I work really well with deadlines so finishing the book on time shouldn't be a problem, provided I don't leave it on the subway.
#3. It makes me sound sophisticated and important ... "oh sorry, I can't make it tonight, I have book club"

Last month we read "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls. It was a pretty good book and as a Dietitian I was fascinated by a child's perspective of hunger, but let's get real, this post isn't about the book, this post is about what I ate during book club.

We met after work one day at a quiet downtown restaurant called The Butler's Pantry for some "international comfort foods for the health conscious consumer".

Inspiration struck when I ordered Kosharee, a traditional Egyptian street fair made with green lentils, rice, and tomato sauce. Easy, delicious, healthy.

Of course I went home and immediately googled "Kosharee". I decided not to follow any of the recipes or suggestions associated with this traditional dish and instead used the dish as inspiration for the ingredients in my kitchen.


Makes about 5 servings

Lentils, uncooked, 1 cup
Multigrain rice, uncooked, 1/2 cup (brown rice will also work)
Mushrooms, 10
Yellow onion, 1
Zucchini, 1/2
Garlic, 3 cloves
Tomato Sauce, 1 jar
Vinegar, 1 Tbsp
Cumin, 1/2 tsp
Chili powder, 1/4 tsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Fresh parsley, 1 cup

1. Cook rice and lentils
2. Chop veggies and sauté with small amount of oil.
3. Add cooked rice, lentils, and veggies together.
4. Mix in vinegar, spices, and parsley.
5. Warm tomato sauce in saucepan on medium heat.
6. To serve, scoop lentil mixture onto dish and top with tomato sauce.

This dish is incredibly versatile. I'm looking forward to playing with this recipe and changing up the herbs, spices, and veggies for a completely different taste and experience.

Wishing you tasty meals and happy days,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kale Fennel Salad

Fresh fennel...ever have it? This is my first time. A friend of mine was enjoying some crunchy fennel at work last week and it sparked my curiosity. Once fennel was on my mind I saw it everywhere - fennel pizza, fennel in the grocery store... ok that's about it, maybe "everywhere" was an overstatement.

Some observations on fennel:
- It has a similar texture to celery - crunchy and refreshing. 
- It has a spectacular black licorice aroma and a mild black licorice taste. I really dislike black licorice and I enjoy fennel (this is my proof that the taste is quite mild, so you believe me now, right?).

This is fresh fennel (isn't it pretty?):

I was a little hesitant to have fennel on its own so I decided to pair it with my trusty favourite, Kale.

This salad is full of flavour and tang and is probably not for the faint of heart.


3 cups of kale
1/2 bulb of fennel, sliced thin
1 handful of fresh, chopped parsley*
Juice of half a lemon**
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Ground pepper

* I bet fresh dill would also be great.
**This is a very tangy salad, which I love, but if you're not into extreme tang you may want to reduce the lemon juice to a little less than half a lemon.

1. Remove and discard the middle spine of the kale. Chop the leaves into thin strips. 
2. When preparing fennel remove the tall stalks and eat the bottom bulb. You also have to remove the inner heart of the fennel. For a quick, helpful video on chopping fennel look here
3. Combine the kale, fennel, and parsley in a medium bowl. 
4. Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and pepper. 
5. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and enjoy. 

Go ahead, be crazy, try something new.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You wanna have a pizza party?

Ah, the versatility of pizza. I've talked about it again and again, and now it's time to talk about it once again. Pizza can be full of fat and sodium which can lead to health problems galore and general feelings of yuckiness and tiredness. Thankfully, this doesn't mean that pizza is off limits or that it can't make a regular appearance in your kitchen. When you make your own pizza you are in control. 

Here are four tips that I like to use when choosing to be in control of my pizza and my health: 

1. Choose whole grain whenever possible. Whether you're making it from scratch, buying a
pre-made crust, using a pita or tortilla opt for the whole grain variety.

2. Pack on the vegetables. I add a little more and then a little more. This will fill me up with vitamins, minerals and fibre instead of calories, sodium, and fat.

3. Choose protein choices that are lean and low in sodium. Beans, lentils, skinless grilled chicken,
extra-lean ground beef, and tofu are all great options.

4. Easy on the cheese. Sprinkle it on little by little and stop as soon as you think you have enough to be satisfied. Any leftover grated cheese can be popped in the freezer for use at a later date (a delightful time-saver!).

The pizza below was made on whole grain store-bought pizza crust, black beans, sautéed kale, red peppers,  onion, and avocado, and sprinkled with feta cheese and red chili flakes. 

Wishing you a pizza-night success,

Monday, February 6, 2012